British Queen celebrates


Nissan has unveiled a bold £2 billion initiative aimed at revolutionizing its Sunderland factory into an electric car production hub. The plan involves the manufacturing of three electric car

models, including the electric Qashqai and Juke, alongside the next generation of the electric Leaf, which is already part of their production lineup. The move is not only set to preserve the jobs of around 6,000 workers directly but could also generate employment for thousands more across the UK.

Central to this endeavor is the establishment of a significant new battery plant, known as a "gigafactory," in addition to the existing factory adjacent to the car plant. Nissan, in collaboration with its partner, AESC, is already constructing another gigafactory to support this grand vision.

Approximately £1.12 billion will be allocated by Nissan to upgrade its UK facilities and supply chain, along with workforce training, to accommodate the production of these new models. When combined with the gigafactory investments, the total infusion into this project reaches up to £2 billion, as confirmed by the company. While details about government support remain unclear, Nissan has acknowledged receiving £15 million in funding for its research center in Bedfordshire.

Alan Johnson, Nissan's senior vice president of manufacturing and supply chain, emphasized that for the UK to sustain competitive car production, multiple factors need to align. This includes not only the efficiency of the plant but also considerations such as energy costs, infrastructure, and support from local and national governments.

The UK government has extended support to Nissan through the Automotive Transformation Fund, which saw a £2 billion boost in the recent Autumn Statement. Although the exact amount of funding from UK taxpayers hasn't been disclosed, ongoing discussions between Nissan and the government hint at potential further support.

The significant investment by Nissan is estimated to be around £1 billion, signaling a resolute commitment to enhancing the country's automotive manufacturing landscape.

Brexit poses a challenge, particularly with impending tariffs on cars sold between the UK and EU set to take effect in January. Nissan's Chief Operating Officer, Ashwani Gupta, previously cautioned about the sustainability of the Sunderland plant without a post-Brexit trade deal. The regulations stipulate a 10% tariff unless carmakers can demonstrate sourcing at least 45% of their components from the UK or EU.

For Nissan, which exports 80% of its Sunderland-made vehicles, successful exportation remains pivotal. Mr. Johnson highlighted the necessity of "major investments like battery production in the UK" as a crucial strategy in the face of Brexit-related uncertainties.

Similar concerns have been echoed by other automakers, like Stellantis, responsible for brands like Vauxhall, Peugeot, Citroen, and Fiat. The company, committed to producing electric cars in the UK, has expressed potential factory closures if the cost dynamics become unsustainable due to Brexit-related tariffs. Photo by ApaApJt, Wikimedia commons.